WHAT IT’S ABOUT
George Lopez plays Eddie Serrano, a high-powered lawyer who is trying to raise a 13-year-old daughter Naomi (Daniela Bobadilla) after her mother died. He relies heavily on his assistant Catalina (Elizabeth Thai) and has trouble making time for Naomi. However, when a camping trip almost falls through after a mother goes into premature labor, Eddie steps up as the new chaperone. While at the Spring Action Classic at Hulka’s Rock, Eddie learns that he has to get completely involved to connect with his daughter and help her succeed.
WHAT I LIKED
One look at the DVD case of “Mr. Troop Mom,” and you’ll know what you’re getting into. It’s a kids movie, told from the perspective of a somewhat absentee father and his daughter. It’s got a lighthearted look you’d expect from the long line of family camp movies, and the G rating lets you know it should be safe for the kids.
George Lopez has dipped into family comedy before, not just with his long-running sitcom, but also with films like “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” and Robert Rodriguez’s “The Adventures of SharkBoy and LavaGirl.” This is familiar territory, so he handles himself well as the affable dad with plenty of self deprecating humor.
This film was aired first on Nickelodeon, and it fits that level of filmmaking. It’s cute but safe. It’s friendly but has some built-in adversarial behavior from the girls in the popular clique. Having seen plenty of films from the Nickelodeon and Disney Channel library, I wasn’t expecting something on the level of theatrical releases. Rather, “Mr. Troop Mom” works in its own environment as a film for the family to watch together.
And while the movie tends to focus rather heavily on George Lopez, there is something to be said for Daniela Bobadilla as his daughter, who is on her way to becoming a fine actor. Also, the always hysterical Jane Lynch delivers a solid performance as the over-zealous camp director.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Sometimes the comedy is forced, but that’s to be expected here. If you don’t have kids and you don’t like movies made specifically for the Nickelodeon and Disney Channel audience, you’ll want to skip this one. Of course, I can’t imagine anyone accidentally swerving into “Mr. Troop Mom” at the video store if they aren’t looking for this kind of film. The movie fits neatly into the “it is what it is” section.
The only other downpoint of the movie is the end, which features a contrived concert scene with Alex and Nat Wolff of the Naked Brothers Band, who come across as young punks to anyone over fifteen. It’s a bit too much deliberate cross-pollination. At least Joe Jonas had an actual acting part in “Camp Rock.”
The DVD comes with a nice selection of special features, especially for a kids movie. In addition to some deleted scenes, there’s also a gag reel. Several featurettes spotlight the making of the film, including “George goes to Camp,” “Rockin’ the Bonfire” featuring the Naked Brothers Band, “Killer Bees vs. Wasps” and “Sharing Dad.”
A somewhat interesting interactive feature can be found in “Naomi’s Journal,” which is presented in a pick-and-choose selection of behind the scenes interviews with the cast of the film.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Nickelodeon movie fans and 13-year-old girls who just loooooove the Naked Brothers Band.